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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673

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To The Editor:

Dear Mad River Valley residents,

It was very discouraging to attend a select board meeting this week where many hoped that the select board would help the Schoolhouse Market stay at its East Warren location. The Rootswork board of directors has bullied the market out of its location by not renewing its five-year lease -- evicting them on October 31. The Warren Select Board provided absolutely no help whatsoever.

I did not move here to be surrounded by people who would actually do something so devious as the Rootswork board members have done in this situation. I have worked as a volunteer for thousands of hours for the past five years, in an effort to bring local organic foods to our school children under Rootswork's 501 c3 nonprofit umbrella.

Anne Burling, Rootswork founder, and I worked for the past two years on the School Community Rootcellar behind the Schoolhouse Market's cheese-making facility. Anne has funded the project and I coordinated many volunteer work days to finish it along with 50 or more volunteer Valley residents. Anne made the 70 acres of land behind the Schoolhouse Market available for all of Rootswork for-profit ventures.

Anne Burling was asked to leave Rootswork board in January because of a conflict of interest -- she has leased her land to Rootswork for a reasonable fee for the past 10-plus years. This action alone is unforgivable, unforgettable and probably will end up being a huge contribution to the demise of Rootswork.

I urge Valley residents to write the Rootswork board of directors and express your feelings in this matter. I am ashamed of this board and their actions and I hope that if Rootswork is able to recover from this unfortunate and unwarranted eviction that community members will show up to vote for a different board of directors, one that has Rootswork's mission at heart, to support sustainable agriculture.

The Rootswork website is outdated and the board has chosen to keep most of its activities of the past year confidential. So good luck joining Rootswork if that is what you wish to do. It is almost as if this board is setting itself up to destroy itself.

Rita Brown



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